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The North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce is backing a national call of action to improve availability of finance for SMEs in the county.

In written evidence submitted to the Treasury Select Committee, the British Chamber of Commerce said many smaller firms are no longer seeking finance as they consider it too limited and costly.

The call comes as an inquiry was launched to investigate the issues faced by UK SMEs when seeking finance.

This year The NWLCC launched ‘Chamber Finance Finder’, which allows members to speed up the funding process, matching their businesses with the right funding opportunities across loans, equity investment, grants and commercial mortgages.

Using feedback from the thousands of businesses within its unique network of 53 chambers across the UK, the BCC told MPs:

• Current economic conditions are some of the most difficult seen in generations – and rising interest rates have left an increasing number of firms worried about borrowing costs
• Many businesses feel locked into their current financial provider and are fearful of shopping around
• A lack of competition due to poor awareness of options outside the traditional banking route is holding back progress
• Unlocking alternative finance options, increasing the flexibility of funding and a comprehensive drive to increase awareness are all needed to shift the dial.

Babs Murphy, CEO of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber, said: “In consultation with our members, the most frequent issue on decision-makers’ minds is the lack of availability for finance and funding.

“This is an especially acute issue after many firms were forced to take on much higher debt burdens during the pandemic to survive.

“The continuing tough economic conditions also mean many Lancashire SMEs have a huge amount on their plates and don’t have the time or expertise to find the finance options that work for them.”

For assistance in finding the right funding for your business, contact the Chamber of Commerce on 01772 653000 or e-mail info@lancaschamber.co.uk

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